NEW ORLEANS — Hortensia grew up in the 7th Ward. She says her favorite order from Gene's Po-Boy shop is the sausage. She says the taste is authentic New Orleans.
"Gene's still tastes like the po-boys that we had almost, what 30, 40 years ago," Hortensia said.
That's why when Hortensia heard the news in her new home of Nashville that a for-sale sign went up outside the iconic pink building on the corner of St. Claude and Elysian Fields avenues, her first stop when she came back to the Crescent City was Gene's.
"It's just a part of my growing up and my history and that's really why I came here today," she said. "Just in case it's sold before I come back, I just wanted to get another sandwich."
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The father in the store's family business, Gene I, ran Gene's Po-Boys and Curbside Daiquiri Shop for years. Now, his son, Gene II, is in charge.
It was hoped that the business would be passed on to Gene II's nephew, who they called Gene III, but sadly he passed away at 27-years-old in January.
After his passing, the family said they feel it's time to pass on the reins.
The original daiquiri store, now vacant on Elysian Fields Avenue, sold last year for $895,000. The other three parcels — the main corner building, the daiquiri store next door (both two stories with balconies) and the vacant lot for parking — are all listed at just less than $5 million.
That price also includes intellectual property, including recipes and the name of the 21-year-old business.
Since the listing, the phones have been ringing off the hook from investors across the country, the family's agent said.
"All of New Orleans is drawing that type of interest from outside investors because of the Marigny and the history," said Damon Garrets with EZ Realty.
To add to the local history, a TV show called "Black Ink Crew" and music videos by artists like Drake and Swiss Rodmann were shot there.
The store also made a recent appearance on "The Simpsons" and Beyoncé and Jay-Z have eaten at the shop, too.
Those cameos draw tourists by the thousands, but so does the recommendation from the locals.
"We're in the park and a woman said to us, 'if you want to get the most New Orleans you can, you got to go to down and get some po-boys and daiquiris,' and we came down and it's been the best decision yet," said Ben Tinelli, who was visiting the city from Syracuse University for spring break.
It's unknown what a new owner would want to do with the properties. The family's agent said many of the callers ask what the historic restrictions are in the area, but many calls are just from people who love the place wanting to know what's going to happen to it.